Keeping with the theme of workplace wellness, as highlighted in our last blog post featuring tips for staying healthy at work, another area to consider is one that you may not have thought of while working: jaw clenching. Jaw clenching can be a common problem for individuals under stress, and often times, jaw clenching can lead to headaches. With headaches noted as one of the most common physical complaints, particularly tension headaches (APTA, 2011), it’s important to be proactive and determine the cause of your headaches to help mitigate the effects it has on your daily life and work performance.
If you find yourself clenching your jaw, consider keeping these tips in mind to help relax your facial and jaw muscles from one of our physical therapists, Maureen Ambrose, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT : PTtip Jaw Clenching Video
Another common cause of tension headaches is poor posture, especially when sitting. Modifying your workstation can help to improve your posture and, ultimately, help to prevent tension headaches by reducing pressure in your jaw and neck muscles. A few simple tips (APTA, 2011) include:
- Keeping your computer screen in a position that is no lower than eye level.
- Using a headset rather than a regular phone to help prevent added tension to your neck muscles.
Finally, incorporating softer foods into your diet can give your jaw a chance to relax. A few healthy soft food ideas include yogurts without added sugars, particularly Greek yogurt, which is a great protein source, homemade fruit smoothies, soft fruits like bananas or ripened peaches, cooked oatmeal, or cooked vegetables. For a creative way to incorporate soft vegetables into your diet, try making mashed cauliflower by pureeing cooked cauliflower and adding your favorite spices, which will give you a mashed potato-like dish, perfect to serve as a healthy side dish for you and your family.
Remember to keep these tips in mind, and if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists, give us a call at 855-PT-FIRST today!
American Physical Therapy Association. (APTA). (2011). Physical Therapist’s Guide to Headaches. Retrieved from: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditionsDetail.aspx?cid=fd8a18c8-1893-4dd3-9f00-b6e49cad5005
*As a reminder, always discuss any questions or concerns with your medical physician regarding your health and dietary needs, as the information written should not replace any medical advice.